Summer is finally here! Along with the warm weather comes a shift in your clients’ usual schedule as outdoor activities, summer festivals, day and weekend trips to the beach, long vacations and summer activities for their children begin to compete with their dedicated gym time. But don’t let your clients lose focus and write off the summer as a lost cause for fitness. Instead, take advantage of the irregular summer schedule to spice things up both in and out of the gym. Here are a few tips to keep your clients motivated and active all summer long:
- Set new goals and develop a summer plan: Because the summer occurs at the year’s halfway point, it is a great time to reflect on the goals that were set at the beginning of the year, celebrate accomplishments, perform a follow-up fitness assessment and establish new goals for the second half of the year. Once these goals are set, take the time to develop a summer plan. Make a summer calendar, mapping out any days or weeks where your client will be out of town or will have minimal time for exercise. Develop an action plan for fitting in exercise during those busy weeks as well as ideas for overcoming potential barriers. Remind your clients that any amount of exercise is better than none. Therefore, stress the importance of including at least one day of exercise during those busy weeks to prevent losses in muscle, strength and cardiorespiratory fitness.
- Take your training sessions outdoors: Change up your clients’ workouts by designing an outdoor body-weight training session, a playground workout or a high-intensity workout in the pool. In addition, take some time to organize an occasional nature trail walk, hike or outdoor sports activity in which your clients can participate together. When planning outdoor activities or workouts, consider morning or evening times to avoid the hottest part of the day and encourage participants to take frequent water breaks throughout the workouts. Consuming sports drinks during intense workouts lasting 60 minutes or longer can be helpful for replacing electrolytes that are lost through sweat.
- If pressed for time, incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) during your sessions: During busy weeks when your clients may not have as much time to spend in the gym, consider incorporating HIIT workouts into your training sessions. HIIT can produce cardiovascular adaptions that are similar to a steady-state endurance program, but in less time and with lower overall training volume. Additional benefits of HIIT include increased aerobic capacity (Gibala and McGee, 2008), greater muscle oxidative capacity (Gibala et al., 2006), and improved body composition (Gremeaux et al., 2012). Add strength training into the HIIT workout by incorporating strength exercises into the low-intensity intervals.
- Create travel workouts: Create quick and easy workouts that your clients can do while traveling. Design programs that require minimal space and equipment such as body-weight or resistance band programs that can be done anywhere at any time.
- Encourage clients to try a different gym while on vacation: For those who prefer to use a fitness facility or have longer vacations planned, identify potential gyms or exercise studios where your clients can obtain a guest pass or temporary membership. Take some time to research the area and maybe even contact the facilities for information regarding guest rates and requirements to attend the facility. Providing this information to your clients demonstrates an investment in their goals and supports their overall programming. Also, consider seeking specialized training facilities that offer unique programs or classes to identify exercise opportunities that your clients may not have tried in the past.
- Create summer challenges: Keep your clients motivated through summer challenges. You can use activity monitors to create a weekly step goal they can strive to reach, create a weekly workout challenge your clients can complete at home or on vacation, or develop a training program to prepare for a race that takes place at the end of the summer. Summer challenges can help your clients stay on track as they work toward a weekly goal and track their overall summer progress.
The summer can be a challenging time to focus on fitness; by helping your clients set goals and create a summer action plan, you can encourage them to make fitness a priority and keep them moving all summer long. No matter what strategies you use, take advantage of the sporadic nature of the summer months to change up your clients’ workouts and encourage them to try something new. Keep the momentum going throughout the summer by developing creative exercise solutions to ensure your clients stay focused, invested and motivated to accomplish their goals.
Want to better engage with your clients to achieve optimal results? Take our Foundations of Program Design for Personal Trainers course to get an in-depth look at the ACE IFT® Model and learn how to program more efficiently for clients of all fitness levels.
Gibala, M.J. et al. (2006). Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance. The Journal of Physiology, 575, 3, 901–911.
Gibala, M.J. and McGee, S.L. (2008). Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 36, 2, 58–63.
Gremeaux, V. et al. (2012). Long-term lifestyle intervention with optimized high-intensity interval training improves body composition, cardiometabolic risk, and exercise parameters in patients with abdominal obesity. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91, 11, 941–950.